Coronavirus, why Germany has fewer victims than other countries

While the number of people affected by Covid-19 in Germany has exceeded the figure in China, reaching 100,000, the German mortality rate remains relatively low. There are in fact 1,300 dead in 16 German federal states. It is true that the percentage is constantly changing.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), pandemic deaths in the Federal Republic are now 1.3%, but were 0.8% just a week ago. However far from the dramatic percentage in Italy 12% and from 10% in Spain, France and the UK. “We have to take into account that there will be more deaths,” said Lothar Wieler, director of the Koch Institute.

Wheeler admits the death toll could be underestimated: “I believe there are more than official figures.” But it is not clear whether he is referring only to Germany or the international community. One of the reasons for the underestimation, according to the director of RKI, is because the autopsies are done after a few days, which leads to the disappearance of Covid-19 traces.

It should be noted that in the first weeks of the crisis, the postmortem test was not performed at all. But even if German deaths are more than official figures, the anomaly remains: in Germany the pandemic is less deadly than in other countries. Why? The answers are different according to experts. Meanwhile, the age affected in Germany is younger than in other countries: 49 years old against 62 in Italy and France. It is clear that younger patients are more likely to survive than older people.

Then there is the crucial issue of tests. No country does more tests than Germany, which currently runs at a rate of 400,000 tests a week, and some become even more so-called “corona taxis,” meaning tests are also done at home. “This automatically lowers the mortality rate,” explains Hans-Georg Kraeusslich, head of the virology department at the University of Heidelberg. But most of all, mass testing has led to the capture of those affected at an early stage, and so immediate intervention with quarantine therapies.

“The earlier we have a diagnosis, the higher the chances of survival,” says Kraeusslich. German testing is now taking a qualitative step. Within April, the plan will be operational, which will verify the immunity of the cured patients. In the first phase will be 100 thousand per week. And those who test negative for the second or third blood test will be given a special immunity passport, which will allow them to return to work or be used as volunteers to help sick people and isolated.

It will be like creating a vanguard to start production. But the not-so-secret secret of low mortality in Germany lies above all in the capacity of the hospital system. At the beginning of the crisis, there were 28,000 intensive care units in German hospitals, equivalent to 34 for every 100,000 people. By comparison, there were 12 in Italy and 7 in the Netherlands per 1,000 inhabitants. A month later, the German healthcare system has 40,000 seats for intensive care.

Although the curve has begun to decline, Wieler says restrictive measures will remain in place to consolidate positive effects. For a few days now, the average number of people affected has dropped from 1 to 5 two weeks ago. “We have to go down to 1, before we can think of a relaxed way to take action,” said the director of the Koch Institute.

Angela Merkel also warned Germans in her weekly podcast: “We would not be responsible if we gave false hopes,” said the chancellor, who said it was “too early to identify a secure dynamic.” positive ”on the epidemic curve. Merkel has confirmed that the blockade of public life will continue at least until the end of the Easter holiday. Perhaps the chancellor’s “strength of calm” has also contributed to the low mortality rate from pandemics in Germany.

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